Environmental Awareness Plays Key Role in One Company's New Facility

July 20th, 2009 by Editor

Green. Energy-efficient. Sustainable. It’s not uncommon these days to hear about companies manufacturing and selling products designed to be environmentally friendly. Some companies have even taken another step forward and are now operating out of facilities that, like the products they produce, are also green.Such is the case for Solar Innovations Inc., a custom manufacturer of a variety of products including commercial and residential folding, tilting and sliding glass doors, walls and windows, which moved into a new facility one month ago in Pine Grove, Pa., about 15 miles north of its previous location in Myerstown.

“The need for more space and a better facility layout drove the decision,” says Greg Header, president of Solar Innovations, TM.

Header says the facility’s layout will help increase efficiencies, and space has been planned for new product lines and the equipment necessary to support them. The new location also has an internal test lab, a better flow for job processes and an overall attention to environmental factors.

The new facility is more than 206,000 square feet-three times the size of the previous facility. But even beyond its size, the new operations are a result of more than two years of research, design and building efforts that would help create an environmentally conscious facility. In fact, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED) standards were taken into consideration as part of the design process. Upon its initial review the new facility is expected to earn Gold Level LEED Certification, though the company hopes to achieve Platinum Level Certification in the upcoming months.

Several LEED objectives were incorporated into the design of the new building. For example, the building was oriented to view the natural environment. Other features include a roof prepared for photovoltaic panels; preferred parking for energy-efficient and carpool vehicles; bike racks; refurbished furniture; a windmill to generate energy; a cistern to collect rain water; CFL light bulbs; a complete recycling program; and bio-retention basins to filter and treat storm water run-off.

And despite these challenging economic times, Header says the move was still an important one to make as it will help improve processes, efficiencies and drive down the costs. He explains that while everyone needs to be conscious of the economy and what is going on in the world, his company has grown consistently over the last eight years. He says that by moving now while things are a bit slower they can work on increasing market share and developing new product lines to help prepare for when the market does turn around.

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